Inhibition of neutral sphingomyelinase 2 promotes remyelination

Seung Wan Yoo, Amit Agarwal, Matthew D. Smith, Saja S. Khuder, Emily G. Baxi, Ajit G. Thomas, Camilo Rojas, Mohammed Moniruzzaman, Barbara S. Slusher, Dwight E. Bergles, Peter A. Calabresi, Norman J. Haughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Myelination requires a highly organized synthesis of multiple lipid species that regulate myelin curvature and compaction. For reasons that are not understood, central nervous system remyelinated axons often have thin myelin sheaths with a disorganized structure susceptible to secondary demyelination. We found that expression of the sphingomyelin hydrolase neutral sphingomyelinase 2 (nSMase2) during the differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) to myelinating oligodendrocytes changes their response to inflammatory cytokines. OPCs do not express nSMase2 and exhibit a protective/regenerative response to tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β. Oligodendrocytes express nSMase2 and exhibit a stress response to cytokine challenge that includes an overproduction of ceramide, a sphingolipid that forms negative curvatures in membranes. Pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of nSMase2 in myelinating oligodendrocytes normalized the ceramide content of remyelinated fibers and increased thickness and compaction. These results suggest that inhibition of nSMase2 could improve the quality of myelin and stabilize structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaba5210
JournalScience Advances
Issue number40
StatePublished - Sep 30 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of neutral sphingomyelinase 2 promotes remyelination'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this